Monday, August 27, 2012

Antique Cars and Grand Marais Break Wall Update

On the way to the museum yesterday, I documented some antique cars that were in town.

After closing the museum last night, I drove out on the point to get some pictures of the new break wall.

The largest boulders are dolomite from Pembine, WI.  Some of the other rock being used is Kona Dolomite from Ishpeming.  This is stramatolite formation.  Here are a couple of pictures I took of Kona rocks being used in the project.

I went to the Army Corp of Engineer web page to try to get clarification about what is happening with the second bid regarding the break wall project. The search engine on the web page is poorly constructed, so it took a while to find actual updated information.  Below are some graphics from the Army Corp's web page, a Google Map showing the original and new break wall, information from the corp's original project information sheet, and some updates.

This Army Corp photo shows where the original break wall was built in the late 1800s.

The old break wall and the new one that is oriented 55 degrees to the southeast, are shown below.

The map below shows Lonesome Point (which no longer exists).

The next two graphics show the ruins of the original break wall, which will be removed by the contractor as part of the second bid.

Project Description
Burt Township has determined it will proceed with construction of a project at Grand Marais with state funding. As is required of any construction project in the waters of the United States a permit from the Corps is required. The Detroit District Regulatory Office has given the highest priority to the review of the application from Burt Township. In reviewing any permit application we are required to conduct an independent evaluation to determine whether the work is contrary to the public interest. The possible outcomes of our review are issuance of a permit as proposed, issuance with special condition, modification, or denial. Our regulatory review can use documentation previously prepared for a civil works project, but changes to the project from the civil works plan necessitate added review. Regulatory staff communicated that an expedited review is possible so long as there are no significant differences between the proposed design and the one approved with the 2010 Environmental Assessment, EA. In this case there were enough changes for additional review.
  • An application from Burt Township was received on Aug. 29, 2011. There were notable differences from the Corps' authorized project including the breakwater at a 71 degree angle vs. 55 degree angle, missing the dogleg, different stone sizes, etc. On Sept. 28, 2011 the applicant submitted a revised plan to a 55 degree angle. They followed with a revised written work plan on Oct. 4, 2011. Once the application was complete the Corps initiated its review (Oct. 5, 2011) review with internal experts.
  • The township's permit application has proposed a variation in the structure (compared to the basis of the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service's biological opinion and the Corps' existing environmental assessment). As such,coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USFWS,will be required as part of the permit review.
  • Timeline for permit application: Regulatory has sent a coordination letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USFWS. The Corps expects to rely on the information in the existing Biological Opinion on the piping plover and will request concurrence from USFWS. Officially, USFWS has 90 days to provide an opinion, but a quicker response is hopeful.
The local community (Burt Township) has received a commitment from the State of Michigan for $5 million to be used for repair of the breakwater, available upon notification from the township that all necessary permits have been obtained.

Corps' funds totaling $2,640,000 were allocated in 2006 and 2008 for the required repairs for Grand Marais through the Congressional Add process. To date, funds have been expended for: collection of survey and geotechnical data, shoreline evaluation model study, completion of engineering & design, final construction plans & specifications, a biological assessment required for a final biological opinion from the USFWS and the environmental assessment. Approximately $1.6 million remain for contract award and construction oversight, however, Burt Township is not ready to enter into a contributed funds agreement with the Corps which is the mechanism the Corps can use to partner with the local community to deliver a high quality navigation structure at Grand Marais. The $1.6 million, currently held by the Corps as "carry-over" funds, has not been expended on other projects, but it is (as all funds are) subject to reprogramming at any time based on the needs and priorities of the Nation.

Update (as of 11/23/2011)
The Corps has recommended that Burt Township enter into a contributed funds agreement with the Corps. If the Township were to agree the Corps would join the State funds to the remaining Federal appropriation, and the Corps could advance the project. Burt Township has indicated serious reservations about entering into such an agreement with the Corps and they are proceeding with construction on their own with the State funding. The township has requested that the Corps provide the remaining federal funds to the local commuinty in the form of cash and/or materials (stone), or that the Corps utilize the funds to proceed with construction of a limited portion of the repairs in advance of their contract. The Corps has informed the Township that they do not have the authority to provide the funding/materials as requested, nor would a shortened structure provide a tangible solution to reducing the overall wave climate and/or sediment buildup in the inner basin of the harbor.

Update (as of 8/7/2012)
A bid to complete the last part of the break wall project was awarded by the Army Corp of Engineers to a different contractor: Marine Tech, out of Duluth, MN. The bid is for $1,495,428.

Contract work consists of, but is not limited to marine construction on the Grand Marais Harbor federal breakwater in Grand Marais, MI. Work is to be performed on the southern most portion of the east pier. This section of the breakwater is located approximately 1,500 feet from the shoreline. Work to be performed includes removal of approximately 300 lineal feet of existing timber crib and all stone to lakebed and the construction of a rubble mound breakwater in its place. The rubble mound breakwater will be constructed of three stone layers consisting of core stone, filter stone, and armor stone. The armor stone layer consists of 6 to 12 ton stone. At lakebed elevation, the width of the structure varies from approximately 150 ft to 100 ft. At crest elevation, the width of the structure varies from approximately 13 ft to 36 ft. The contract will include a base contract and 3 options. The base contract involves all demolition and construction of 150 feet of breakwater with each option adding 50 feet for a total possible length of 300 feet. Because of Piping Plover, the contractor is required to remain 250 ft lakeward from the shoreline. Therefore, all work is expected to be marine based. Construction of the rubble mound breakwater shall be completed within 120 calendar day of NTP. Any remaining site restoration shall be completed by 31 August 2013.

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